Lawyers write pages after pages of legal documents every day. Contracts, letters, case briefs, and legal memoranda are just a few of the documents lawyers write daily. Law students, similarly, have to master writing these documents. This is why they are asked to write so many law essays and other documents in their classes. One of the more common assignments for law students is writing a legal memorandum, which takes on a different format and structure than the usual writing style new law students may be used to. As a result, legal memos tend to be a major source of stress for many law students.
As with any style of writing, legal writing—and the memo structure—is a skill that can be learned and mastered over time. For some law students, mastery of the legal writing style takes years, which poses a problem for their grades. If you, too, are struggling with mastering how to write a legal memo, you have come to the right place. CustomEssayMeister can help you write law essays, including law memos, so you can learn the legal writing style without compromising your grades.
What Is A Legal Memo?
What does memorandum mean? Memorandum is a Latin word that means “it must be remembered.” Thus, generally speaking, a memorandum is a formal document used to communicate between offices. In the legal field, however, memoranda take on a slightly different format.
A legal memo is a legal document meant for use of a legal colleague, such as a politician or organization, a client, or both. What is a memo, then? A memorandum is a legal document that analyzes the issues and significance of a policy or case and provides forecasts of possible outcomes, as well as recommendations.
A memorandum format differs depending on who the memo is for. When written for a legal colleague, it should be impersonal and objective; when written for a client, it should be written in non-legal writing style; and when written for both, you can write it like you how you write a persuasive essay.
There are two main types of memorandum, namely commercial and policy memos.
1. Commercial Memoranda
A commercial memorandum is usually written for or about a client’s case. A commercial memorandum analyzes the issues that arise from a scenario or a client’s questions. These issues are analyzed against current legislation and court interpretation. A proper memo layout should also anticipate counter-arguments and a possible court decision. In summary, a commercial memorandum aims to clarify any issues in the scenario and propose a course of action to help achieve the client’s desired outcome.
2. Policy Memoranda
A policy memorandum looks into policy issues, usually with the goal of influencing the Attorney-General’s decision in reforming, amending, or submitting a policy. In this type of memorandum, the lawyer expounds on each issue in a policy, such as any potential areas of ambiguity. As such, in writing a policy memo, the lawyer will have to research policy matters and analyze how the provisions of the proposed policy will interact with existing legislation. The main goal of a policy memorandum, then, is to give recommendations and attempt to influence the Attorney-General’s decision on a policy.
Thus, when thinking about how to write a professional memo, you need to consider primarily the intent of your memo and the intended audience. In the next sections, we’ll share some information and tips on how to write a legal memorandum like a professional lawyer.
How To Format A Memo?
There are a few things to consider in a proper memo format—writing style, memo structure or memo headers, and memo formatting. Strictly speaking, there is no standard memo format. Different law firms and agencies, and even your law school, have their own memo template. Despite these, the main components of a legal memo remain the same.
The Heading. When talking about what is a memo format, you cannot skip the memo heading. All memos contain the following in their heading:
Re: (i.e., “Regarding” which should inform the recipient what the memo is about)
Question presented. Usually, a legal memo is formatted in question and answer format. The author presents a question that informs the legal memo. This question is usually a paragraph long and outlines the various aspects of the issue or scenario to be discussed.
Short answer. The question is followed by the short answer, which is, as the name suggests, a summary of the answer to the question. The short answer gives a direct answer to the question (i.e., yes or no) while also briefly providing a road map of the discussions to be undertaken in the next memo headings.
Facts. As with any legal documents, legal memos require you to lay out the facts wherein the legal analysis is based. This section contains a coherent and concise recitation of the relevant facts. The facts presented are usually laid out in the narrative form. Keep in mind that it should be organized, coherent, and most importantly, objective.
Discussion. This is where the author presents the analysis. It consists of different sub-headings:
- Umbrella section – restates the key facts and issue presented, including the procedural posture, as well as the overarching legal rule.
- Rule statement – provides a general statement of the rule that synthesizes the elements of the cases relevant to the issue.
- Rule proof – explains and elaborates on the rule statement.
- Application – applies or draws analogies between the cases discussed in the rule proof and the facts of the case.
- Counterargument – presents- counterarguments toward the authority and clarity of the policy when applied to the case discussed.
Conclusion. If you know how to write a conclusion for an academic essay, you know how to end a memo. Simply recap the main points of your memorandum and then present your strategic recommendations based on the discussions.
What does a memo look like? A legal memo contains a few paragraphs. However, it maintains brevity. When writing a memo, it is important to stick to the legal memo format prescribed by your firm or school. Here is a legal memo example to give you a better idea of what a legal memo looks like.
Legal memos or legal memoranda is a comprehensive document that represents your legal research. Like any other comprehensive documents, a law memo must be well-formatted in order to keep the facts and analyses organized. Formatting is the key to improve any document's readability.
How To Write A Legal Memo?
As in any legal writing, concise writing is of primary importance in legal memoranda. Thus, when talking about how to write a legal memo, we also talk about memo formatting. When writing a legal memorandum, you need to follow a very specific structure for your ideas and sentences. The legal memo format for ideas follows the IRAC method. IRAC stands for:
This method is applicable in writing all of the sections of the legal memo. For instance, when writing the discussion, your paragraphs or sub-sections for each issue or sub-issue should follow the IRAC method. The IRAC method paragraph is quite similar to writing a paragraph in any well-written, captivating law essay.
- Issue serves as the topic sentence that introduces the main issue you are tackling in the paragraph.
- Rule provides supporting evidence in the form of relevant rulings or laws that will complement your reasoning or application. You should interpret the statutes and other rules to set the stage for the Application.
- Application expounds on why the rules do not apply to the facts you stated in the previous section.
- In conclusion, answer the legal issue you mentioned in the issue part of your paragraph.
The IRAC method follows the logical process of analyzing a case and, thus, approach to legal writing. Patterning your legal memo format to the IRAC method would save you the trouble of struggling with organizing your thoughts and editing your sentences for brevity.
How Can CustomEssayMeister Help You Write A Legal Memorandum?
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Law memo is a complicated document considering that this paper must be able to discuss the laws well and apply them accurately to specific situations. For students, this may be a huge challenge. This is why CustomEssayMeister offers affordable law memo writing assistance at any time of the day.
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